So many people have an “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to losing weight and making healthy lifestyle habits, but please believe that positive changes can happen with small, consistent, MINDFUL efforts. Here are three that I practice regularly:

1. Don’t eat “just because.” How many times do you eat just because… The clock says it’s time..You’re bored…Everyone else is doing it (!)…or…Eating pizza and ice cream every Sunday night is just what you do. Well, let’s work towards changing that “just because” habit. It won’t happen overnight, but bringing awareness to the issue will help you improve it. So the next time you reach your hand inside the bread basket just because it’s being passed around the table, stop for a second and ask yourself how much you even want it. A little? A lot? Is it really worth it?

Healthy nut mix: dark chocolate chips, raw almonds, raw cashewsFor example, last weekend it was “time” for lunch, but I wasn’t hungry yet. I was working on my laptop and even though I was feeling munchy, I had a little chat with myself (I do this a lot), and decided to hold out until true hunger struck. It was late afternoon by the time I was ready to eat, but because I was having an earlier dinner, I decided to fix myself this little nut mix snack and it was all I needed. The “old Ellen” would have fixed a full meal right at noon…just because. Now I make my own rules.

2. Just move. I’m not a triathlete or Crossfit extraordinaire, but I’m pretty darn fit and I genuinely like to exercise. (Want to challenge the Pushup Police to a competition? I dare you!)  However, some weeks it’s harder to get motivated to workout than others. Sometimes I’m just feeling lazy and other times I’m just flat out tired or burned out. That’s when I make a pact to myself to just move.

In fact, the other weekend I was feeling so lazy that first thing in the morning I put on my new favorite workout gear by Tasc Performance just so I’d be a little more motivated to get out and move at some point during the day. Three loads of laundry, two cups of coffee, a brunch date and an episode of House of Cards later, I was finally ready to get going. I started with an easy stroll through my neighborhood as I chatted to my mom on the phone. My feet lead me back to my apartment instead of the gym, but I went up to my rooftop and started stretching. Then I did some lunges, squats and planks. And then before I knew it I was jumping rope and doing squat jumps.

Tasc Performance fitness apparel made of bamboo fabric.It was hardly was the workout of my life, but I was moving my body. Whether I’m running six miles or going for a walk or simply making a special effort to take the stairs, I keep myself in the game and feeling positive just by moving.  And I have to say that feeling good inspires me to do something good, which is why putting on cute and comfy workout clothes gives me a little boost when motivation is lacking. (Save the over-sized college tees for those Scandal marathons!) Check out the tank top and leggings I’m sporting here.

Last but not least, my final tip. It’s probably the hardest, but it’s also my favorite…
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I’ll admit it: Instagram makes me happy. It’s a little daily habit that brings me joy.  For some reason, I never feel like I’m wasting time when I’m on Instagram like I do when I log onto Facebook. On Facebook, I feel like I’m hunting and scrolling to find something that piques my interest, but Instagram is effortless. This form of social media gives me instant gratification and inspiration, and helps keep me motivated and healthy. Here’s how:

1. Cooking Tips and Recipe Ideas. Thanks to Chrissy Teigen’s Instagram account, I now know how to make cauliflower mash. Carrots n Cake taught me how to get my sweet potato wedges juuuust right and Women’s Health mag encourages me to mix up my smoothie recipes with their weekly ingredient spotlights. I even get fun meal ideas taking a peek inside the lunch boxes of Weelicious and 100daysofrealfood.

How to make sweet potato wedges or fries.The short version: Cut sweet potato in half, then cut those halves length-wise, and then one more time so that you get a wedge shape. Toss with a healthy drizzle of EVOO and sea salt; roast in oven at 400 for 40 minutes; broil for the last few minutes, or until preferred crispiness.

2. Keeps Me Accountable. I make far more healthy choices than unhealthy ones so it’s easy to forget how much I actually indulge in my favorite treats. When I’m struggling to make a healthy choice, fight temptation or I’m just flat out feeling sorry for myself (I haven’t had dessert in FOR…EV…ER!), I flip through my Instagram photos and realize…oh yeah…I had a double-chocolate chip ice cream cone just three days ago. This might sound weird, but reflecting on my eats not only keeps me honest, but it almost allows me relive the moment again (OMG those cookies were so good!). A lot of times that’s enough to help me ride out a craving and hold out for a treat it’s really worth it.

Ice cream, s'mores, cookies, soft serve

3. Fitness Inspiration. When I’m not running outside with my husband, doing speed work on the treadmill, or taking the odd spinning or yoga class, I’m supplementing my workouts with quick strength or HIIT workouts that I get from Instagram. I did this Booty Workout below from Workoutroutine earlier today when my motivation was lacking. It just helps having a series of exercises to follow because you don’t have to put too much thought into it.
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